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issue 01




From the Editor

New Frontiers: It’s Time to Take Notice

Billabong: Carnival on the Beach

GAC Logistics: A Spike in Interest

Callaway: Approach Shot

LG Electronics: Man of the Match


ABOUT GLIDESLOPE GlideSlope is a global sports consultancy comprised of brand strategists with a passion for helping clients create more enduring relationships with their audiences by better leveraging the full power of sport. The company’s principals are former agency and client-side executives from some of the world’s best-known brands, and they bring a wealth of experience and innovative thinking to companies facing new challenges and new opportunities in the sports space. To find out more about GlideSlope and how it represents a departure from the traditional view of sports marketing, please visit

WHAT IS A GLIDE SLOPE? It’s the precise path an aircraft must take in order to meet its landing point. Any number of variables—wind, weather, weight—may affect that landing, but the pilot’s instruments let him know if he’s drifting from his optimal path. In much the same way, we help our clients find their precise path to market by creating a deeper engagement between their brand and their target audience in the world of sports.



ABOUT RUNWAY We are totally engaged in this industry. We speak to players, coaches, fans and brand representatives who fuel the games. We meet with leagues, governing bodies and industry veterans around the world, and we regularly participate in debates that stir the conversation and advance ideas about the ever-changing world of sports. And this is our forum for reporting on those efforts and broadening the discussion. One of our main goals is to identify the social and emotional undercurrents that make sport such a powerful part of global culture, status, identity and belonging. And we use these observations and insights—and their implications for the future—to change the way brands think about the sports space. The sports world might be ever-evolving, but there are certain bedrock values and behaviors that are shared throughout its dynamic landscape. It’s our mission to discover these commonalities and to understand them; to figure out the who, what, where and how—and in doing so, unearth the why. Armed with this understanding, we can begin to see why some trends exist, and how they fuel the growth of Drivers—macro-trends that are essential to building markets and fostering brand growth. We can then use these insights to help our clients most effectively drive their business. That’s why we’re making our observations, analyses and opinions available here for your perusal. Our only hope is that you’ll share them the same way we have, and that they will further your understanding of things that are going on in the sport landscape. And of course, if you observe any trends that you think are noteworthy or will help drive future brand growth—or just that you think are cool—let us know at


FROM THE EDITOR I can still vividly remember the time I spent working with a client on a sponsorship deal for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. There was so much anticipation and excitement as we worked on plans to make the largest impact possible in this relatively uncharted land. In many ways this was China’s coming out party—athletically, socially, politically, economically and environmentally—and we were committed to finding the best way to engage this massive population through the Olympic movement and spirit. It’s been over three years since the Beijing Games. The athletes, media, spectators and I have long come and gone from China, but many international brands have remained, building from their success around the Olympic Games. And now there are other regions of the world set for the same kind of international sporting debuts—and those who are paying attention stand to reap the greatest rewards. In this issue, we’ll explore two new frontiers in particular. Both offer largely untapped markets, with new consumers eager to enjoy their increased financial freedoms. Qatar, a nation of 1.6 million people, recently won its bid to host the 2022 World Cup—fortifying the notion that in sport, geographic opportunities know no bounds—but we think the two places that warrant the most interest and activity are Brazil and India, a pair of emerging economic powers fueled predominantly by their rapidly expanding middle classes. As these two countries modernize their sport offerings and welcome the rest of the world, we are on the verge of seeing the global sports landscape become more equitable than ever before. In this issue we’ll discuss four brands that we believe are making a profound imprint in these countries. They are blazing a trail for other brands to follow and stand as best-in-class examples of where the future is headed. Maybe the legendary Wayne Gretzky put it best: “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it is.” A mantra to live by not only in the hockey world, but also with our business strategies. Explore. Engage. Make a difference for your company AND people in these countries! David Fuller



NEW FRONTIERS It’s Time to Take Notice Say hello to the new middle class. In any country, it is middle-class people who perpetuate trends and drive market behavior. They represent the broadest opportunity for brands to reach a mass audience, and few countries offer more promise of new growth than India and Brazil. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that India’s middle class will grow from 50 million to 583 million people in the next two decades. And since 2003, Brazil’s has grown from 64 to 91 million strong. It’s time to pause and take notice of these two emerging markets driven by middle-class growth—particularly as it relates to sports. India’s widespread passion for cricket is well documented, but take a look at how the growth of once-unfamiliar sports is reshaping the country’s athletic landscape. New Delhi successfully hosted India’s first-ever Commonwealth Games in 2010, and the city will be the scene of the nation’s first Formula 1 event, the India Grand Prix, later this year. The NBA is partnering with an Indian conglomerate, the Mahindra Group, to develop basketball throughout the subcontinent. And tennis and golf— two long-time aspirational sports of the middle class—have seen a surge in participation. Brazil, already a fixture in the pantheon of soccer nations, is looking to use its upcoming Decade of Sport to launch itself into the realm of the sporting elite. Within a two-year span, Rio de Janeiro will host the world’s two premier international events: the World Cup, in 2014, and the Olympic Games, in 2016. These two global stages will announce the nation’s newfound status to an audience of billions, introducing Brazil de uma vez por todas— once and for all. The increasing power of sport in these two countries is creating a way for brands to present themselves to hundreds of millions of new eyes. By tapping into that emerging power and unprecedented reach, brands can engage key audiences in ways never before experienced. Best in Class Examples Billabong – Carnival on the Beach GAC Logistics –A Spike in Interest Callaway – Approach Shot LG Electronics – Man of the Match 07

“Potentially the moment that could change the course of athletics in Asia, the moment that could inspire thousands of people who’d never even seen an athletics track before to get involved. To build a truly global capacity in sport, you have to take it round the world—out of your own backyard. That means taking risks and facing challenges, but it has to be done.” Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee, speaking about the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.


Goldman Sachs predicts that by 2050, India and Brazil will have the 3rd and 4th largest GDP’s, respectively, in the world. The IMF currently ranks Brazil 7th and India 10th.


“It has always been my vision to put together a world-class event, truly worthy of the quality of Brazilian surfers and widespread passion for our sport. Billabong is more than happy to be welcoming the surfing family to this stop and putting Brazil in the heart of our Billabong Pro events.� Chris Kypriotis, Billabong South America President


BILLABONG Carnival on the Beach Brazil is a country known for its collective free spirit and joyous appreciation for life. Oh, and of course soccer. But futebol is not the only game that embodies the Brazilian spirit. Consider surfing. Unlike most spectator sports, in which fans watch their favorite athletes from the bleachers, surfing fans pride themselves on also being participants. Surfing isn’t so much a sport as it is both an art and a culture—a celebration of the uninhibited fueled by adrenaline and pure pleasure. Couple that attitude with pristine beaches, sapphire skies and seducing waves and it’s no wonder that Billabong, the Australian surf apparel and equipment manufacturer, jumped at the chance to tap into the Brazilian surf market. Billabong has been an active sponsor of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour, but, two years ago, the company lost its right to sponsor the tour stop in Mudaka, Spain. Looking ahead, it saw Brazil as both a natural and obvious choice to fill the void. The Santa Catarina Pro event, the third stop on the ASP tour, occurs every year at the end of April in Imbituba in Southern Brazil, and the company committed to a seven-year title sponsorship of the event. It’s now branded the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina, with a $40,000 purse, the highest in Brazilian history. Billabong wants to make this event a true blend of Brazilian and surfing cultures. The Imbituba beaches will serve as the de facto South American surfing capital, and in addition to the usual seaside parties, Billabong will bring a special focus on promoting environmental awareness. It will encourage fans to plant trees around the beach and lead beach-cleaning initiatives. Not only will the professional wave riders create memorable experiences, but Billabong is hoping that everyone—in the water, and out—will participate in the event, developing meaningful relationships along the coast of Brazil for the next seven years.

Visit Billabong’s event website for pictures. 10

“Volleyball is hugely popular in Brazil. After football, it is the most watched and played sport in the country, and we’ve had a string of Olympic successes in all categories, culminating with a Gold Medal in the Women’s Indoor competition in Beijing last year. In fact, Brazil has won more Olympic medals than any other nation.” Rodrigo De Marco, GAC Brazil , Managing Director


GAC LOGISTICS A Spike in Interest Those same sandy beaches that Brazilian surfers call home have helped cultivate the popularity of another sport: volleyball. From the beach game to the traditional indoor game, Brazil has become the world’s most successful breeding ground for volleyball. Indoors, both the men and women’s teams currently rank first in the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World Rankings, and on the beach Brazilian pairs have accumulated nine Olympic medals, the most of any nation since the sport made its debut at the Atlanta Games in 1996. And one brand in particular has gotten aboard the rocket ride of popularity the game is now enjoying in Brazil. GAC Logistics is best known for serving the supply chain and logistical needs of manufacturers, distributors and retailers around the globe. The company has long recognized that the values encouraged in sports—drive, dedication, teamwork—are a natural fit for its marketing. Most recently GAC has partnered with the São Paolo-based club Santo André of the Superliga Brasileira de Voleibol to spread its message in Brazil. Signed in early 2009, the partnership is already doing wonders to boost GAC’s brand awareness. As part of Superliga’s custom, teams adopt their main sponsor’s name—branding the club as GAC Logistics Santo André since day one. GAC has thus become a traveling brand linked with every move made by the club. If a team member appears in a TV guest spot, GAC is there. If the coach walks through São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, GAC is there. If the club’s match is broadcast on SporTV, Brazil’s most-watched sports network, GAC will have 90 minutes of prime-time exposure. There have been other ancillary benefits as well. Identifying with a winning club has energized a new sales team and expanding service force. And being represented by a team in heavily industrialized São Paolo, with its high density of logistics needs, reinforces the message that GAC is there for its local customers. The final tally for its efforts? GAC Logistics has become synonymous with one of Brazil’s most successful volleyball clubs and has firmly positioned itself as an ardent supporter of sports while maintaining premier market offerings.


“We are aiming to be a dominant player in the industry in the next couple of years by investing in building the brand and bringing new golfers into the game through various strategic partnerships and initiatives throughout India.” Vivek Mehta, Callaway Golf India General Manager “Triggers for growth are there. Standard of living, purchasing power and the number of people interested in spending money on leisure are growing. So, golf is bound to grow.” Thomas Yang, Callaway Golf, Senior Vice-President of International


CALLAWAY Approach Shot

Thirty years ago there were only six golf courses in all of India. Now there are over 200 courses nationwide, with an additional 50 in a planning phase. While the sport in India still has a long way to go to reach the levels of popularity in other nations, it’s safe to say that golf is on the precipice of a major groundswell. Greater participation in the sport and interest in professional golf have largely been driven by one thing: increased upward mobility. In India, golf has long been an aspirational game of the middle class—so with that segment of the population expected to increase roughly tenfold to 583 million people by the year 2025, it’s only natural that athletic tastes will change. However, despite the budding economy, there still remains an imposing number of Indians who have never picked up a club, leaving the game purely a pipe dream for many. That’s where Callaway saw an opening to connect with a key potential new audience. In early 2010, the leading American golf-equipment manufacturer opened Callaway Golf India to establish a direct presence in the country. Even though many Indians were still without the financial means to play, they wanted to associate with national golfing icons like Jeev Milkha Singh, who Callaway brought on as a brand ambassador. That was the first step. The second? Creating relevant offerings that make Callaway available on the course, and off, which is critical to engaging those Indians who have never played the game. The brand has launch golf-inspired lifestyle products tailored to the Indian market, from eyewear to clothing to watches—so even those who can’t play the game can still feel a part of it. By understanding what fuels the Indian appreciation for golf, the brand has been able to develop a culturally significant relationship with a whole new demographic. The next step? Supporting the democratization of golf. Those efforts are in their infancy, but we have no doubt that with a projected participatory growth rate of 25% in the coming years and an adept and engaging plan to build the brand already in place, Callaway’s Indian success is not too far off. Factor in golf’s inclusion in the 2016 Summer Olympics after a 112 year hiatus, and the inspiration for young Indians to represent their country can propel the game—and the brand—up the leader board.


“The thrill these children will experience is something that will live with them throughout their lives and hopefully will keep them involved in the game long after the event has finished.” Haroon Lorgat, International Cricket Council Chief Executive “The ICC and the global game of cricket has benefited enormously from LG’s commitment to our great sport. Without that support from LG and our other commercial and broadcast partners, we would not be in a position to help our 104 Members grow the game through the significant funding we provide.” Haroon Lorgat, ICC Chief Executive


LG ELECTRONICS Man of the Match

Even though field hockey claims the official title, cricket has long been the de facto national sport of India. The passion of Indian fans for the game may have no equal anywhere in the sports universe. Only the NFL’s average game attendance of 67,000 tops the 58,000 fans per match who come out for Indian Premier League cricket matches. LG Electronics, which launched an Indian subsidiary in 1997, recognized this passion for cricket as a valuable pipeline to tap in its efforts to increase brand awareness in the subcontinent. In its first deal in 2001, LG partnered with cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council. The deal was designed to introduce LG to a new audience and to build passion for the brand through its commitment to the sport. It worked. By the end of the deal in 2007, LG had achieved market leadership in the LCD TV segment and increased its market share in all product categories. However, LG execs recognized that they needed to do more if they wanted to maintain the company’s success. They needed to engage their audience, to inspire it, if they wanted to win Indian hearts. In renewing the deal in 2008 for seven more seasons, they added a touching new initiative that would go on to unite cricket fans throughout the country. LG Lead XI is a nationwide talent contest that the company conducts for children ages 8 to 12. The winners get the chance to lead the players onto the field for both international and domestic matches, proudly standing with their heroes as the national anthem plays. So even though LG saw success with a standard sponsorship, they knew that wasn’t enough. By engaging young fans to “Lead your Champs” they made an emotional connection between the LG brand and the hearts of millions, inspiring generations of cricket fans and LG users for years to come.


IMPLICATIONS Thought-Starters • India and Brazil are radically different landscapes from what we’re used to, and the weather differs dramatically from region to region. Make sure your offerings fit the varying climate needs. • People and attitudes are different from Delhi to Mumbai, from Bangalore to Hyderabad in India, and from Rio to São Paolo to Guarulhos in Brazil. Craft your message accordingly. • Two-thirds of India’s population lives in rural areas, yet makes up half of the nation’s GDP. Empower them and make your offerings accessible. • They won’t come to you. Mobilize to local markets. • Family is very strong in the community. Offer shared products. • Cheap isn’t always right. Indians will pay a premium for quality and added benefits. Get the price/value equation right. • Don’t underestimate their buying capacity and alienate potential customers. • Many Brazilian consumers are driven by image and quality. • High-income Brazilians—a growing segment—look to distinguish themselves from the growing middle class by an appreciation for ultra-luxury products. • Many Brazilians consider foreign products to be a signal of wealth. • Vibrant offerings mirror the communal Brazilian spirit. • Brands that are committed towards improving the earth and its people win in Brazil. • Environmentally conscious efforts form a positive brand perception. • Contribute to developing underprivileged Brazilian communities.



CONCLUSION India and Brazil are no longer underdogs on the global sports stage. Propelled by robust economies and rapidly growing middle classes, these two nations are laying the groundwork to become economic superpowers within our lifetime. They also represent billions of people who are open to new and exciting brands and experiences. But if brands fail to recognize the most engaging and innovative ways to connect to these key audiences, those opportunities will be lost. While it’s obvious that India and Brazil are both undergoing major market changes, the cultural identities of their people remain strong as ever. Both cultures are steeped in deep religious and spiritual traditions, but with their own unique characteristics as well. In India, the abiding significance of the family structure cannot be ignored; In Brazil, it’s important to recognize how the amalgamation of Portuguese and African cultures molds the vibrant national spirit. It is essential for brands to understand the cultural nuances that exist in these two markets and to create products and messages tailored specifically for them. There’s no magic wand for capturing these markets. The process takes time. Affinity is born out of heartfelt repetition and a passionate pursuit. Brands must steep themselves in the culture to reap long-term rewards.




GlideSlope Magazine